Belfast Telegraph

David Healy joins Bury to keep Northern Ireland hopes alive

By Graham Luney

David Healy has ended uncertainty about his club future by agreeing a one-year deal with League One side Bury.

Bury bound: David Healy has joined the League One side

The Northern Ireland international was out of contract at Rangers at the end of last season and the Bury move gathered pace following the collapse of a potential switch to his former club Preston North End.

The 33-year-old striker has now set up camp at Gigg Lane and is hoping to get clearance to play against Coventry City tomorrow.

Healy, who has scored a record 35 goals for Northern Ireland, knows he needs game time to force his way back into Michael O’Neill’s thinking ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

While Kyle Lafferty, Dean Shiels, Martin Paterson and Jamie Ward can do a job up front, O’Neill will not close the door on anyone, knowing that injuries and suspensions can decimate his squad.

Healy scored a record 13 goals in the Euro 2008 qualifying series and, although he has been lacking fitness, he arguably remains the most natural goalscorer available to O’Neill.

To add to his 93 international caps, the former Leeds United hitman knew he had to resolve his club future and Bury have opened that door for him.

“Bury Football Club are delighted to be able to announce that David Healy has signed a 12-month contract at Gigg Lane this morning,” the club said in a statement.

“Hopefully international clearance from Scotland, and his former club Rangers, will be received in time for him to be included in Saturday's squad for the game at Coventry City.

“A huge part of David's reasons for coming to Gigg Lane is to break back into the international scene with Northern Ireland and to help the club push on into the new season.”

Healy had been in discussions with former club Preston but North End boss Graham Westley pulled out of the move due to continued ill-feeling from sections of the Deepdale support regarding the player's acrimonious departure to Leeds United eight years ago.

The Killyleagh man becomes the sixth signing of the close-season at Gigg Lane, hot on the heels of 19-year old midfielder Shane Byrne, who signed a two-year contract after being released by Leicester.

Belfast Telegraph

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